[quote=Elzee]This may be a silly question, but I thought a chaplain at a hospital was either a priest or minster. If you’re Catholic, what does your title as ‘chaplain’ mean?
At our local Catholic hospital we have several Chaplains. One is a preist, one is a Buddhist, I’m not sure what the others are; they look human to me. To be a Chaplain (big C) one must have a Certificate of Chaplaincy which requires several credits in a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program. I don’t know how many credits. My wife has earned one credit toward the certificate, and I believe, at least at our hospital, she is considered a Chaplain.
I am actually a volunteer chaplain with spiritual care. Honestly, I think our real title is Spiritual Care Volunteer. But the term Volunteer Chaplain is used for those of us who visit patients and offer them spiritual comfort.
When I visit patients I usually tell them I’m the chaplain on duty or that I’m a volunteer chaplain. It is easier to say “chaplain” than “spiritual care volunteer” because the patient usually doesn’t know what I mean. I’ve been called Father and Pastor, but I am neither; although I am a father and brother.